Thursday, December 03, 2009

Meanwhile, in Uganda

Heterosexual family values are going strong. To defend those requires fighting against homosexuality. A new law proposal, apparently one that is going to pass, has all sorts of defensive weapons for the family values crowd:

Spero News reports that the terms of the bill currently are:

"[L]ife term in prison for one homosexual act. Option of the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", which includes relations with a minor or a disabled person; repeated homosexual acts; and if the offender (initiator of the act) has HIV, or uses drugs or alcohol to procure sex.

The bill further bans the promotion of homosexuality, and proposes a 3-year prison term for anyone failing to report homosexuals to the police.

Changes, according to the Reuters report, could "include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition."

That's little comfort for the gay and lesbian community in Uganda, along with anyone who may be accused of being gay or lesbian even if they aren't. The upshot of the law, overall, could be the indiscriminate use of it against anyone declared to be an enemy of the government. We may be surprised to find out just how many "homosexuals" Uganda has if this law passes and is allowed to stand.

As far as I know homosexuality is already criminalized in Uganda. Why this new law? Is it an attempt to fight the spread of AIDS? But surely heterosexual sex is the main vector for that? Or is it really true that homosexuality is seen as some sort of a European threat in Uganda?

And what is the role of the Family in all this? Or the role of Rick Warren, the Favorite Radical Cleric Of Everyone? He's friends with some of the people who have pushed for this kill-all-the-gays law but now takes the example of Pontius Pilate by washing his hands of it all:

Rick Warren is once again in PR-speak mode when faced with his ties to the most barbaric elements in regressive Christianity. As I've written before, Warren has long had close ties to Martin Ssempa, an absolutely crazed anti-gay paster from Uganda who is one of the primary forces behind the push to make homosexuality even more illegal in that country than it already is (along with punishing anyone who advocates for gay rights as well).

Now that new proposed law has come to the attention of the American media and they are asking Warren about it. And despite the fact that he has long been involved in taking bold stands on political issues, he's suddenly decided that it's not his job to take a stance on the rightness or wrongness of the bill:

But Warren won't go so far as to condemn the legislation itself. A request for a broader reaction to the proposed Ugandan antihomosexual laws generated this response: "The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations." On Meet the Press this morning, he reiterated this neutral stance in a different context: "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides." Warren did say he believed that abortion was "a holocaust." He knows as well as anyone that in a case of great wrong, taking sides is an important thing to do.

This post consists mainly of questions. The work needed to follow all those spidery webs is not possible by sitting in the Snakepit Inc., sadly.